Shareholders Reach Settlement in Jeld-Wen Anti-Trust Case

Shareholders for Jeld-Wen Holdings Inc. reached a $13.5 million settlement with members of the company’s board of directors and upper management to end a case involving alleged insider trading and antitrust violations. The plaintiffs, including the Board of Trustees of the City of Miami General Employees’ & Sanitation Employees’ Retirement Trust, Shieta Black, and Jason Aldridge, submitted a motion for preliminary approval of the settlement on September 8, 2022. Plaintiffs also submitted a supporting brief and declaration from lead counsel Mark Lebovitch of Bernstein Litowitz Berger and Grossmann LLP.

According to court documents, the plaintiffs’ breach of fiduciary duty, and unjust enrichment claims brought on behalf of Jeld-Wen Holdings Inc., stem from “sustained anticompetitive conduct resulting in significant financial and business consequences to Jeld-Wen.” Plaintiffs alleged that defendants failed to prevent the company from engaging in “sustained and systematic business strategies involving the challenged anticompetitive conduct,” engaged in inside trading based on information provided to fiduciaries in their roles as directors, officers and controllers, and
made public misstatements and omissions concerning underlying antitrust misconduct.

On June 20, 2022, the parties reached an agreement in principle to settle the action. Under the terms of the settlement, defendants are set to pay an aggregate amount of $13.5 million.

Masonite Employee Sues for Alleged Unpaid Wages Following Ransomware

A Masonite employee is taking the company to court in Mississippi over claims that it failed to accurately record time and properly pay non-exempt hourly and salaried employees. According to documents filed by the plaintiff, on or about December 11, 2021, Masonite’s timekeeping system suffered a disruption in service resulting from a ransomware attack. The complaint alleges that the outage interfered with the company’s ability to track hours and pay employees, and that Masonite “failed to keep accurate track of the hours …”

The plaintiff alleges that, “Instead of accurately tracking hours and paying employees their overtime, Masonite decided to arbitrarily pay these employees, without regard to the overtime hours they worked or the regular rates at which they were supposed to be paid,” the complaint says.

Masonite’s alleged failure to pay overtime wages is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), according to the filed complaint.

The plaintiff, on behalf of themselves as well as similarly-situated employees, has requested a judgment awarding them all unpaid wages and liquidated damages.

DOJ Looks to Block Assa Abloy, Spectrum Merger

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to block Assa Abloy’s proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of the Hardware and Home Improvement division of Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc. According to a DOJ news release, Assa Abloy and Spectrum are two of the three largest producers of residential door hardware in a $2.4 billion U.S. industry.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges that the merger would eliminate head-to-head competition between Assa Abloy and Spectrum, potentially resulting in higher prices, lower quality, reduced innovation and poorer service with respect to the sale of premium mechanical door hardware and smart locks.

Assa Abloy is a publicly-traded Swedish stock company. It sells its residential door hardware products in the U.S. under the August, Emtek and Yale brands.

Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc. is a publicly traded Delaware corporation headquartered in Wisconsin. The company sells residential hardware products in the U.S. under the Baldwin and Kwikset brands.


Fortune Brands’ Larson Plant in Lake Mills Set to Close

Fortune Brands, the parent company of Larson Manufacturing, announced plans to close the latter’s manufacturing plant located in Lake Mills, Iowa, where approximately 197 employees will lose their jobs in the weeks to come.

“Outdoors and Security announced on Tuesday, September 20, that they conducted a reduction in force impacting positions across the organization, including the closure of three Larson facilities (Lake Mills, Iowa, Grand Prairie, Texas, and Senatobia, Miss.),” Fortune Brands announced. “The decision was based on continued efforts to mitigate external economic risks, an assessment of the industry, and the evolution of the organization to best align with its growth strategy.”

Darwin Minnis, communications manager for Fortune Brands, confirmed that a second shift was cancelled in September, with employees receiving 60 days of pay. The plant’s first shift is set to end on November 18 and will receive severance packages, Minnis said. “In addition, second shift is also eligible for transition support based on years of service,” he told [DWM] magazine.

Fortune Brands Home and Security acquired Larson less than two years ago in 2020. Larson is headquartered in Brookings, S.D., and also has door and window factories in Brookings and Mocksville, N.C.


YKK Invests in Residential

YKK AP America Inc. is investing up to $125 million to expand its residential door and window offerings via a new manufacturing facility in Macon, Ga., where president Oliver Stepe says the operational goal includes doubling the company’s capacity.

Macon has been the headquarters of YKK AP’s residential products business since 2007 and will be home to an approximately 400,000-square-foot residential door and window manufacturing facility.

“Although we’re becoming more known in the residential window business, we still have a lot of opportunity and room to grow,” Stepe said. “Our currently leased facilities were just out of room, out of capacity. It was really a decision of whether we continue to grow or stay static.”

Strybuc Opens Larger Center In Fla.

Strybuc Industries, a wholesale distributor of window and door replacement hardware, announced that its Florida sales and distribution center moved into a larger facility in Hialeah, Fla.

The move allows Strybuc to better manage the high demand for hardware in the Southeast, officials said. The new location will provide the company with more space and improved logistics for its Florida customers, they added.

Additionally, the new location includes a retail sales counter for local customers and products which is located at the rear of the building. The new facility will be the second largest for Strybuc, a move that coincides with the company’s 40th anniversary.

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